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Natural colourants and dyestuffs are an important group of non-wood forest products. They can be of plant or insect origin. These products have various end uses. Natural colourants are employed to impart colour to food products, and natural dyestuffs are used to impart colour to textiles and other non-food products.

The number of colourants and dyestuffs found in nature are enormous. While some of them are fairly well-known, many of them are not commercially important. To provide a comprehensive coverage of all the plants and animals providing colourants and dyestuffs is a very difficult task. This publication attempts to provide only a representative selection of plants and insects yielding colourants and dyestuffs. Its purpose is to give an indication of the wide-ranging sources of natural colourants and dyestuffs and to encourage further research and studies relating to this group of products.

The draft of this document was prepared by C.L. Green of UK-ODA Natural Resources Institute (NRI). Formatting of the text and proofreading was done by Elisa Rubini. The preparation and publication of this document was guided and supervised by C. Chandrasekharan, Chief of the Non-Wood Products and Energy Branch. I record my sincere thanks to them.

It is my fervent hope that this publication will help to enhance the interest of forest resource managers to pay due attention to the development of non-wood forest products.

Karl-Hermann Schmincke
Forest Products Division

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